Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Malaysia. According to the Statistics on Causes of Death, Malaysia, 2020, 17.3% of males in Malaysia died of ischaemic heart diseases in 2019. In women, heart disease is the second most common cause of death, but only by a small margin compared to the leader, pneumonia.[i]
Heart disease – not just for the elderly
Most of us assume that heart disease is the concern of those in the ‘elderly’ age group. The National Cardiovascular Disease Database-Acute Coronary Syndrome registry of 2014-2015 places the average age of those suffering heart attacks in most developed countries at between 63.4 to 68 years of age. In Malaysia, however, that number is 58.6.[ii]
Still, 58.6 may seem far away for millennials, however, the risk of developing heart disease is on the increase even for the younger generation. In fact, a study in the USA conducted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index in 2017, found that millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) are less healthy than Generation X-ers were at the same age[iii]. There was a significant increase in numbers of those suffering from major depression, hyperactivity, type II diabetes and hypertension (among others), all of which have direct or indirect links to developing cardiovascular problems later on.
These numbers are not unique to the US. In Malaysia, 35% of those above the age of 35 are hypertensive – one of the highest risk factors for developing heart disease[iv]. Add to that factors brought on by COVID-19 related circumstances, be it the disease itself, stress, or not being able to get sufficient exercise, the risk of developing heart disease among millennials has increased significantly over these last two years.
Heart care for millennials
Do not wait for tomorrow to begin your heart care regime. Even if you are a seemingly healthy and fit individual, we recommend putting these heart care practices into action as quickly as possible:
Annual health check-ups
Forget waiting until your 40s to get annual health check-ups. Doctors recommend getting them from as early as 20 years old[v]. Don’t worry too much about the cost as annual check-ups are tax deductible.
Maintain a healthy weight
This does not mean you have to lose weight or be skinny. Instead, it is more important to ensure your weight remains within the healthy weight range for your height. You can do this by consuming the right amount of calories, eating healthy and exercising.
Take care of your health
Do not ignore underlying health conditions that could eventually lead to developing heart disease. Manage these conditions, take your medication, and consider making lifestyle changes that can help improve your overall physical health.
Manage your stress levels
Stress can have significant impact on your heart health. Unfortunately, stress is unavoidable, but there are many things you can do to manage it including meditation, exercise, going for a massage, journaling, listening to music or enjoying other relaxing activities.
Not only is smoking an addiction, it also significantly increases the risk of developing heart disease. Quitting will not be easy, but the health benefits are plenty.
Know your family history
If anyone in your family has had heart disease, you may have an increased risk of developing it too. Talk to your family about it, and let your doctor know during your next medical check-up so they are aware and can provide the relevant care.
Health protection with PruBSN
If you would like to cover all your bases and prepare yourself in the eventuality you develop a heart disease, consider getting a medical plan with Critical Illness coverage. It provides financial protection against critical illnesses as soon as you’re diagnosed, and covers all eligible treatment costs so your hard-earned savings remain intact. Our Critical Illness coverage is open to anyone between 1 and 70 years old, providing you with financial protection against heart disease regardless of age.
To find out more, talk to a PruBSN Takaful Agent today and let’s start taking good care of our heart.
[i] “Statistics on Causes of Death, Malaysia, 2020” in Department if Statistics Malaysia Official Portal, as of 15 September 2021, https://www.dosm.gov.my/v1/index.php?r=column/cthemeByCat&cat=401&bul_id=QTU5T0dKQ1g4MHYxd3ZpMzhEMzdRdz09&menu_id=L0pheU43NWJwRWVSZklWdzQ4TlhUUT09
[ii] More Malaysians Are Suffering Heart Attacks at a Younger Age” by Dr. Nandakumar A/L Ramakrishnan, in Columbia Asia, 20 January 2020, https://www.columbiaasia.com/malaysia/health-articles/more-malaysians-are-suffering-heart-attacks-younger-age
[iii] “The Health of Millennials” in Blue Cross Blue Shield, 24 April 2019, https://www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/reports/the-health-of-millennia
[iv] “Young age no barrier for heart disease” by Meera Murugesan, in New Straits Times, 29 November 2019, https://www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/heal/2019/11/543142/young-age%C2%A0no-barrier-heart-disease
[v] “Study shows millennials could get heart disease before older generations” by Tiffany Huertas & Joe Herrera, in KSAT.com, 20 February 2020, https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2020/02/21/study-shows-millennials-could-get-heart-disease-before-older-generations/